DDO Issues October 2020

October 2020


Gallup Poll: How Duke students are voting this November

Top Reasons Why You Should Commit Voter Fraud this Election, and Our Handy How-to Guide

Duke Students as Contestants on The Bachelorette

What Your Favorite Halloween Candy Says About You

Why I Would Make a Better Supreme Court Justice Nominee than Amy Coney Barrett

Duke Specific Halloween Costumes

A Memoir from a Mask’s Diary: Halloween Night

President Price to Kiss All Students Due to Major Change to Duke Compact

How Much is Half a Semester?: A Research Inquiry

October 2020

Gallup Poll: How Duke students are voting this November

Between DukeEngage and the myriad of “service learning” opportunities peddled on campus, it’s clear that Duke loves entrusting its (not-at-all qualified) students to be great change-makers in the world’s (and Durham’s) vulnerable communities. The most recent scheme? Letting a statistically-significant sample of undergraduates, with various majors and backgrounds represented, decide the 2020 election. 

We wanted to hear how Duke students are voting, so we conducted some interviews to find out:

Facebook offer comp sci sellout:

“I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but I’m voting for Trump. Tell me you’ve seen the way AOC and those other left-wingers tried to destroy Mark Zuckerberg. So uncool and disrespectful. I’m totally a Democrat, but the current “Democrats” in the House are basically communists. What happened to respecting free speech and the fundamental right to big data? Plus, I want a president who will respect my right as a future-software-engineer to create a platform that refuses to censor right-wing extremist groups. But if anyone asks, I’m voting for Jo Jorgensen.”

McKinsey offer pub pol sellout:

“Obviously I’m voting for Biden—what kind of question is that? Honestly, I was into Bloomberg, but Biden was a strong second choice. If there’s anything I learned in my four years of public policy curriculum, it’s the importance of meticulously-structured, perfectly objective, solutions to promote incremental change, leveraging the stakeholders who have the most education and experience as executives. I mean why else do you think I took my job with McKinsey? I’ll make way more of a social impact than I ever could working for some small non-profit.”

The girl in your class whose abroad semester got cancelled:

“Look, this is a really sensitive topic for me, but I think I’m going to have to go with Trump. This is entirely selfish, but I honestly think that Biden would close all our borders and forbid Americans from any international travel. I already had to have my semester in Madrid cancelled, effectively barring me from the life-changing abroad experience. My parents are giving me a summer trip to Europe out of pity, and I’m not going to sacrifice that just because of some scary Supreme Court nomination.”

Socially liberal, fiscally conservative econ major:

“Jo Jorgensen.”

“Woke” sorority girl:

“I am so proud to vote Kamala Harris for president. Yes, I know she’s just the running mate, but we all know she’ll do the governing. She is such a girlboss, like I’m just obsessed with her. And even though she was a career prosecutor, I think it just shows what a great leader she is. Like, I totally understand how much it can suck to be the “bad guy” or the one who upholds “laws.” In rush last year, I had to cut a bunch of girls that I really, really liked, because even though they’re from Fairfield County, they went to public school, you know? Anyways, I just want to underscore the importance of voting—remember, your vote is for every woman out there; we’re all sisters… It’s what RBG would’ve wanted; rest in power. (aside) And can you take a picture with me to post on Insta show how much I just care about democracy? Thanks! Love you so much!”

Self righteous campus activist:

“Oh, me? I’m not voting…Uh huh, yup, you heard me right. Both candidates are old, pathetic, corporate, white men. Neither of them care a bit about police brutality, race relations, women, or people’s lives. I wanted Bernie, but the party forced him out just like in 2016 to further their neo-liberal agenda. This whole thing is a sham. The only way out is through a true revolution, but until then, I refuse to support anyone who’s willing to compromise with a capitalist system. In fact, fuck anyone who benefits from capitalism to begin with!…Yes, I’m receiving an endowed merit scholarship—why do you ask?”

So, do you think this is better or worse than the electoral college?

We aren’t sure either, but there’s one thing department of is sure of: Don’t just trust your fellow Duke students to make decisions for you; go vote.

October 2020

Top Reasons Why You Should Commit Voter Fraud this Election, and Our Handy How-to Guide

         In an impassioned plea this summer, Coach K got in front of a camera and urged anyone who was watching to go out and vote in the upcoming election. He said, “voting is the great equalizer. When we vote, we’re all equal.”

         It’s a great message. If we ignore the fact that every vote in Wyoming counts for three votes in California, it’s true! When we vote, we all count equally.

         So I’m proud to say that I count for five people.

         That’s right, I’m voting five times in this coming election. Now, I know you must have some questions, like “isn’t that voter fraud?” “is that illegal?” “could you go to jail for that?” As it turns out, the answers are “Yes,” “a felony, actually,” and “absolutely!”

         Not that you need any more convincing, but here are several more reasons why you too should commit voter fraud this election cycle.

  1. Between Covid, the supreme court seat, riots on the streets, and any number of other factors, this is undoubtedly one of the most important elections of our lifetime. You have a chance to make a significant difference if and only if you vote several times.
  1. You don’t want your grandparents voting with all their antiquated ideas and inability to use Zoom. Instead, tell them that the election has been pushed back one week to November 10th, then go and vote in their place.
  1. Support the post office! The more mail-in ballots you send in, the more you’re supporting your local USPS branches!
  1. Since voter fraud is technically a felony, you (probably hopefully) get to lower your Rice Purity Score.
  1. One free pen every time you vote in person!
  1. Everyone’s doing it. You’re actually putting yourself at a disadvantage and underrepresenting yourself if you don’t.
  1. Everyone’s doing it. Like, all the cool kids are doing it. Peer pressure.
  1. You can bet on both sides, so you always come out on top. Look… I’m not saying vote for Trump, but, if you do have five ballots to cast… seems like a shame to always vote for the same people.
  1. You can help even out the electoral college. One vote in the presidential election in Wyoming is roughly three times as valuable as one vote in North Carolina. The easy solution? Vote three times!

The best way to vote several times:

         As you’ve surely heard from that ad with Obama on YouTube, it’s crucial to make a plan to vote. Here is mine. Hopefully, you have enough time to follow along yourself:

  1. I requested a mail-in ballot from my home state of Virginia, from the address I had when I was in high school.
  2. I requested a mail-in ballot from my freshman year dorm. I picked it up from my mailbox and sent it in.
  3. Since my parents moved once I went to college, my new Virginia address is different. I drove up one weekend and voted early, in person.
  4. I voted early with my sophomore year address at the Karsh alumni center.
  5. I will vote in person on election day at a local Durham polling place with my current address.

         MOST IMPORTANTLY, I never took an “I voted” sticker. The government puts microchips in those to track you and keep voter records.

         If you use a different, legitimate address every time, they’re never going to find out. What’s the government going to do, cross reference your name with every other voter? Don’t be ridiculous. They can’t even make you show up for jury duty.

         In the absolute worst-case scenario, just tell the government official that tries to arrest you for voting multiple times that you just forgot, or you thought that the early voting site was just for practice. Cops tend to be pretty understanding and forgiving.

… This article might get me in trouble.

October 2020

Duke Students as Contestants on The Bachelorette

Dating at Duke is hard. Dating at Duke during a pandemic is even harder. Without the safety blankets of drunken nights at Shooters and Devine’s or sexual tension-filled eye contact on third floor Perkins, one might wonder if finding love is even possible.

A new, exclusive program from Duke University Union wants to change that: The Duke Bachelorette. Embracing the spirit of toxic heteronormativity, one lucky undergraduate woman will have the opportunity to be wooed by Duke’s best and brightest men. Staying true to the integrity of the franchise, here are your contestants:

  • The Guy Without a Real Job (he’s listed as a “free spirit”): You know that cute upperclassman who somehow is always at Marketplace? That’s the one. When he isn’t trying to bum a guest swipe off of unsuspecting first-years, he’s explaining why he’s “still figuring out what to major in” but he’s “really leaning towards English.”
  • The Guy with the Weird Gimmick When Exiting the Limo: During O Week, having an introductory spiel was key to avoiding awkward conversation. Two years later, it’s just annoying, and this guy hasn’t realized it yet. His only talent? Having the same exact conversation with every new person he meets…We get it. You have three cats and are a total nerd for econ.
  • The Guy Who’s Only in it for the Fantasy Suite: He’ll tell you that you’re “really special” and the “only one he’s talking to”, but when it’s finally time for his away formal, you somehow aren’t his date. But hey, that won’t stop him from convincing you to get him an invite to your sorority’s crush party.
  • The Aspiring Actor/Musician Who’s Just There For Self-Promo: Remember the ukulele kids from high school? The ones who think that everyone in the cafeteria wants to hear them stumble through a creaky rendition of “Riptide” by Vance Joy? Unfortunately, we remember them too. Their Duke equivalent? People who table on the BC Plaza. Dude, we promise you. No one wants to hear about your a cappella group.
  • The Guy Who Says Everyone Else is “There for the Wrong Reasons”: None of us got into Yale; that’s why we’re all at Duke. That won’t stop this man from constantly bringing up his high school GPA, AP course load, and standardized scores. Maybe it’s crippling imposter syndrome. Maybe it’s really f****** annoying.
  • The Guy Who Always Says, “Can I Steal You for a Second?”: He may seem like he genuinely wants to get to know you better, but don’t be fooled. This man just likes to hear himself talk. Case in point? He’s definitely the guy who asks your professor super nit-picky questions that don’t actually relate to the lecture, just to show he did the optional reading. Nothing fosters faux intimacy better than thinly-veiled peacocking. 
  • The Nerdy Underdog Who Makes it to the Final Four: He’s in Pratt.

You’ve met them—maybe you’ve even dated them, but quarantine still has you bored enough to have genuine interest in seeing how this all pans out. Tune in every Wednesday at 10:00PM (prime Shooters time, rip). Fill out this Google Form for the exclusive Zoom link.

October 2020

What Your Favorite Halloween Candy Says About You

Hershey’s Chocolate Bar: Like any other Hershey’s candy, you’re probably really great at first, but you gradually become intolerable. 

Red Hot Tamales, Fun Dip, or Sour Punch Straws: You’re either an anarcho-communist or a radical right-wing terrorist.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: This is a good choice. You probably grew up in a suburb and played soccer, tennis, or lacrosse. Actually, I’m willing to bet you played all three.

Reese’s Pieces: You definitely bit people at the playground when you were younger– honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you still do. I bet you’re as unhygienic as the Reese’s Pieces dispenser at the local arcade that’s full of stale candy and old band-aids. 

Kit Kat: The only word that’s coming to mind is “silly.”

Starbursts: You’re good unless you like to get into heated arguments about which flavour is the best and drag it out for way too long. Wrap it up, Mitch McConell.

Snickers: Snickers are good, but they’re not that good, which makes me think you’re content with yourself and the world around you. Go find something to be mad about. Because you can still be you and be pissed off at everything, regardless if you’re hungry.

M&Ms: You’re either a five-year-old boy who loves matchbox cars or an adderall-addict. Maybe both. Who knows?

Normal Tootsie Rolls: Go back to the 1930s, Grandpa.

Flavoured Tootsie Rolls: Go to hell.

Junior Mints: Good choice, although your growth was probably stunted from the combination of the 1000% of your recommended daily sugar intake that was in each piece and the fumes from the mint.

Haribo Gummies:  There’s no way you haven’t studied abroad in Europe and then been super annoying about it ever since. If you haven’t yet, you probably will.

Skittles: You definitely like Spiderman and probably wish it was still 2007, but don’t we all?

Nerds: A combination of sugar and energy drinks keeps you up all night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you sleep. Seek professional help.

Milky Way: the nice, popular kid of candies; either you’re the same or you’re projecting.

Milk Duds: Aside from the abundance of cavities you’ve had– the number of which suggests you’ve gotten more than one on each tooth– you’re chilling. A little old-fashioned, maybe, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Whoppers: You either look like the guy from Monopoly or are 8-year-old me. Either way, bravo.

Runts: You have the same energy as a McDonald’s play structure. 

Blow Pops: You’re so weird, but you embrace it, and everyone loves you for it.

Sour Patch Kids: The food dye they pumped into this definitely messed you up a little, but you’re fun.

Airheads: Once your days of terrorizing your fourth and fifth grade classrooms are done, it’s over for you. Just admit you already peaked and move on. 

Dots: Interesting choice. You definitely like black olives and mayonnaise.

Smarties: Stop snorting the powder. 

Payday: You’re a Republican.

Swedish Fish: You probably bullied me.

October 2020

Why I Would Make a Better Supreme Court Justice Nominee than Amy Coney Barrett

  • Prior to her nomination to the Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 by Trump, ACB had no experience being a judge. I, however, have been judging people since first grade, when I vowed silence on the playground if approached by someone wearing knee-high Converse
  • My high school government teacher was a basketball coach and once said that Pete Buttigieg was racist for speaking at a primarily black church (???) and yet, I still know the five freedoms guaranteed by the first amendment
  • I understand that the purpose of a confirmation hearing is to answer the questions you’re asked
  • And while I may have barely passed the AP Gov exam, it seems like the authors of the constitution might have understood that the document they were writing might have to slightly…change eventually? That they couldn’t predict every future event? And that an “originalist” POV (as ACB so endearingly says she has) might not be the most…practical or useful one 250 years after the document’s conception?
  • ACB is Catholic, and I am recovered
  • She affirms that “marriage and family [are] founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman,” but I don’t think God wouldn’t have made gay ppl if marriage was only between men and women (and God doesn’t make mistakes) (so checkmake luv)
  • ACB only had around 1,800 pages of records (compared to prior Supreme Court nominees hundreds of thousands of pages) to submit to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. I, on the other hand, got moved to red and yellow so many times in elementary school that my record is bound to be at least 1,807 pages!
  • If 88 of my peers wrote a letter to me asking me to withdraw my consideration for the Supreme Court, I’d be so…embarrassed. Mortified. I’m so sensitive that when one of the ladies in Marketplace reprimanded me for not going through the line the proper way, I thought about it for weeks afterward. See? I’m still thinking about it. 
  • She’s a Republican, and I don’t hate myself.
October 2020

Duke Specific Halloween Costumes

Ghosts of disgraced administrators past: Get your friends together and do this in a group. The only thing better than one Larry Moneta? Five Larry Monetas.

Sheet ghost: You won’t be using your tent this year, so you might as well put that excess fabric to good use. Just cut out holes for eyes and voila—no one has to see the extra 10 pounds you gained during quarantine.

DSig brother: They may not be on-campus anymore, but we’ll never forget the anger we felt when every single one of them somehow became investment bankers. The two friends you invite to your socially distant Halloween gathering will love watching you block the door and ask them “Who do you know here?”.

Zoom: This one is perfect for the most toxic person in your friend group, you know, the one who you can’t stand but inexplicably spend all of your time with? Great option for anyone who wants to avoid mindless conversation—literally no one will come anywhere near you all night.

Police officer: Prove that you are the most problematic and out-of-touch person on your floor. Offend absolutely everyone for no reason. Just don’t do this.

Anything related to COVID-19: This is the laziest costume of the year, but you can justify it by saying “When I look back at old photos, I want to make it clear that I spent Halloween during a pandemic.”

Sweatpants and a t-shirt you probably got for free at a Duke event: This is the perfect costume, because the only correct place to celebrate Halloween is in your own home. Don’t go anywhere. Don’t gather. Just spend the evening in bed watching Halloweentown and eating copious amounts of discount candy.

October 2020

A Memoir from a Mask’s Diary: Halloween Night


Dear Diary,

The most unthinkable thing happened today. My Owner abandoned me! All day my Owner had been talking about going to this Halloween party – which was against the rules, let me remind you – and she planned on going dressed as a jack-o-lantern. Yeah, real creative. And on top of that, she had decided to wear this gut-wrenchingly hideous “mask” on her face instead of me!

At one point, she was on the phone with Jamie – that’s the really annoying one. The one that thinks the whole virus is a hoax. Anyways, I found myself eavesdropping on them. Oh, cut me some slack, Diary. Anyway, all they talked about was this party they were gonna go to. As they spoke, I swear to Fauci… my elastic bands almost fell off.

Their conversation went something like this:

Jamie: “So, I don’t know, are you going to like, wear your little COVID mask underneath your Halloween mask? Like that just seems a little weird.” 

A little weird!? That QAnon-worshipping bitch!

My Owner: “Jamie, I’m debating it. I don’t really know. I don’t want to, but I do want to stay safe, but…I don’t think it would be the same. I’m kinda sick of wearing that mask anyway.”

She clearly didn’t see the irony in that statement.

Jamie: “Oh come on! Just don’t wear it. You’ll be fine.”

My Owner: “Hmm…I’m not sure. Eh, why the hell not? It’s just a stupid mask anyway!”

That’s it, I’d had enough. Next time, I actually will trap CO2 in me and then see how you like it. Damn, now I know how Jessie felt in Toy Story 2. Alexa, play “When She Loved Me” on repeat.

I mean a plastic-ass Halloween mask over me? How could my Owner think such a thing? And it didn’t help that everywhere on TV I was reminded that other owners wear their masks all the time. Honestly, I needed some good ol’ fashioned TV with no freaking mention or showing of any masks or anything about the virus. Only then could I finally take my mind off of this whole thing. 

So yeah, Hannity and Tucker Carlson were great tonight! 

October 2020

President Price to Kiss All Students Due to Major Change to Duke Compact

With recent spikes in new cases across various states and the dreaded impending second wave, many have called for a new approach to the Compact. Even more so, with our political atmosphere hyper-polarized and national unity diminished, President Price thought it would be best to foster a deeper sense of community through a Duke Compact update, taking inspiration from the words of this country’s leader to encourage that unity.

           He announced that the SymMon app will no longer be used. Replacing it will be an even more comprehensive way to prove that a person is negative for the virus. Echoing President Trump’s movements at a recent rally, President Price will be patrolling campus and kissing all personnel to verify that they are safe from the virus.

When asked why he chose himself to be the tester, Price responded, “I’m the least COVID positive person in the room. I mean I can’t really see the people in the back and it’s kinda dark in here, but I can guarantee I’m the least COVID positive person in the room.” President Price was the only person in the room, as the interview was conducted remotely.

Students, though, have mixed opinions about the change. Many were protesting, advocating for a better acknowledgement of the systemic problems associated with the virus, and a complete overhaul of the policing of the viral spread. They called for reforms to Duke Housing, access to education, ability to acquire generational immunity, and promotion of diverse immune systems.

Other students, however, are taken aback by these changes and rallied for support for the President. President Price, that is. One of his supporters, sporting a “Make Alspaugh Great Again” hat, responded “I don’t know why they want so much attention for COVID. All viruses matter, really.”

No matter your take on this Compact change, it will definitely bring a lot of love and community back to the socially distant and desolate campus. Pucker up and stay safe, everyone.

October 2020

How Much is Half a Semester?: A Research Inquiry


Over the past few months, college students around the world have come to the conclusion that hosting the majority of classes on Zoom has drastically lowered the quality of their mental health on and off campus. Hastened schedules, lack of social gossip, and an absence of stress-relieving parties have not only made it harder for students to feel connected in the digital era of COVID, but also has made it harder for them to feel progress in their academic careers. General sentiments from students include “online classes being super boring”, “friend groups are not the same as when we were at Shooters”, and “TURN OFF YOUR MIC WE CAN ALL HEAR YOU EATING YOUR BREAKFAST”, as collected from anonymous survey data.

One recent phenomenon of the digital semester is the sudden realization made around early October that “we’re halfway done through the semester” made by thousands of students in private group chats and by hundreds of professors at the start of their class as an awkward icebreaker, even though this news is pointless given that students and professors alike do not get a vacation amidst the chaos of a global pandemic & are left trying to figure out how [insert programming language] works. Regardless, it is important that we contemplate this question, as it provides useful insights as to what the academic calendar should look like and how we can best support the learning experiences of our students, whether it’s running experiments on calculating the maximum alcohol intake levels of the current student population, figuring which on-campus restaurant’s leftovers tastes the best when microwaved at 3AM, or googling “how to become a consultant” during bio lab.

In order to remedy the general confusion of the academic community amidst this pandemic and to provide students with a stable indicator on how to pace themselves in future semesters, our team ran a full investigation to answer how long half of a semester actually is.


We decided to narrow down our sample size towards the entire Duke population, because not only do I have connections to the rest of the Duke students using my 20 Facebook groups and 75 Groupme chats, but also because my dad has hot connections with the Duke alumni who sent their kids here, so it’s easy to get good information to fuel this study. 

Using this information, we were able to narrow down when people began thinking “Ohhhhhh, we’re halfway there.” The data was near unusable, so we were kinda living on a prayer that it would provide some useful conclusions, and we were able to narrow down the range of candidates for “halfway through the semester” down to about 40 – 60 days from the starting day of school, which was August 17th, 2020. By these observations, we tested the plausibility of each of the days in the range September 26th to October 16th in the following section.


Now, utilizing advanced mathematics, we were able to calculate the midway point of the semester as October 5th, 2020. While many people agree that this is the most plausible day for the halfway mark, it doesn’t take into account that students were continually taking midterms, which would dramatically impact students’ schedules and how they allocated their time. Additionally, it doesn’t take into account how the midterms were distributed, because if there is one thing the Duke community cannot do, it’s sticking to a schedule. So starting from this estimate, we decided to adjust the timing accordingly depending on when midterms were occurring, however, whenever I posted on my Snapchat with a poll asking my followers when their exams started, the data was inconclusive, and we were unable to use midterms as a factor in our analysis. As a last-ditch effort, we decided to test the only “holiday” within this range, Columbus Day, as a potential candidate for the halfway mark, but I realized that no one (rightfully) cares about Christopher Columbus and we had to scrap this idea…


Oh man, I don’t even know anymore. Where did the time go? My God, I wanted this year to be over quick, but I didn’t want it to be like this. I swear in 30 days, I’m going to have no excuse for not spending time watching a Marvel Movie Marathon with my family now that I have “nothing to do,” and I will not be able to take 3 days of watching big purple Thanos slowly getting out of his dumbass chair while Black Widow coaches Hulk to not be mad at everything all the fucking time, I MIGHT AS WELL BE BRUCE BANNER BY THIS POINT. But at least Hulk could go outside and smash everything that pissed him off, LET ALONE GO OUTSIDE!!! I’m so done with this shitty semester and I’m so done with the notion of sitting down with my same old family right afterwards, taking the time that I would have spent skiing with my bros in whatever northeastern part of the country that I, a typical Duke student, came from. Anyways, the halfway point of the semester was probably whenever you started to lose your mind, which for me, was the 4th week in the semester. Well, at least there are only 30 days left, y’all.